November 5, 2013

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Best of Business 2013

By Peri Kinder | Illustrations by Bryan Beach

November 5, 2013

Myriad Genetics thought it held exclusionary rights to the test. Myriad Genetics thought wrong.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that human genes can’t be patented, thus prompting several other companies to jump into the genetic testing pool. While competitors say the ruling breaks Myriad’s monopoly on genetic tests, Myriad has filed lawsuits against its competitors claiming patent infringement.

Galactic superstar Angelina Jolie made news this year by undergoing a double mastectomy after testing determined she had the BRCA gene mutation. Hopefully, her decision won’t set off a wave of must-have plastic surgeries in the California area.

But overall, things must be OK for Myriad. The company projected it will generate nearly $700 million in revenue for 2014.

Best Sandbox in Utah

The U.S. economy wasn’t the only thing slowly sliding downhill in February. The Biggest Hole in Utah (a.k.a. Bingham Canyon Mine), operated by Kennecott Utah Copper (owned by Rio Tinto), began filling itself in. A massive slide rolled into the mine, burying equipment and stopping production for several weeks while employees used their handy-dandy plastic buckets and shovels to dig out.

Experts who follow earth movements (geologic nerds) said the gravel avalanche was the biggest slide in recorded North American history, moving more than 80 million cubic yards of dirt. Unless you count volcanoes (which I don’t). In that case, the Mount St. Helens eruption has us beat, releasing almost 5 billion cubic yards of rock.

Mine officials were ready for the slide, but perhaps were not prepared to lose their jobs several months later as Rio Tinto “restructured” top management positions. As the philosopher Stevie Nicks once said, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining.” Oops. Wrong song. How ‘bout, “The landslide will bring you down.”

Best Business Lunch

Meals on Wheels isn’t just for senior citizens anymore. In a grown-up version of chasing the ice-cream truck, food trucks are rolling all over the Salt Lake Valley.

In the past, purchasing your lunch from a truck parked along the side of the road could either get you kidnapped or leave you with a virulent dose of food poisoning—sometimes both. But now vendors offer tasty foods that you can eat right in the gutter!

Gourmet coffee, European crepes, street tacos, waffles, crab cakes, turkey sandwiches and BBQ meats are available for just a few bucks, giving you the brief illusion that you live in a cool metropolis.

Maybe I should quit my day job, purchase a pimped-out van and sell my specialty dish: hamburger macaroni casserole. Just like Mom used to make. And if you finish it all, you can have dessert. 

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